Top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc and network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc said on Monday that they will start selling a top-end video conferencing system together later this year, aiming to boost sales to multinational corporate clients.
Cisco introduced a video conferencing system called TelPresence in 2006 featuring life-size, high-definition screens and easy-to-use dial-in features. Sales, while increasing, have been limited to a number of top global companies.
In addition to a bigger sales force, the tie-up enables video conferencing among multiple corporate customers, compared to being limited to intra-company use as it is now.
The two companies said they will start selling the joint service in the second half of 2008 in 23 countries, and expand into more countries in 2009. It will be sold as a corporate telecommunications service, including remote help and on-site equipment maintenance, rather than a one-off equipment sale.
Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed and the monthly fee for the service was not immediately available.
The TelePresence 3000, sold in the form of a small conference room with three high-definition screens, was originally sold at $299,000 per unit. In addition to that version, a cheaper, one-screen option will also be available through the AT&T-Cisco partnership, the companies said.
Rivals in the corporate video conferencing business include Hewlett-Packard Co, Polycom Inc and Teliris. Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications Inc and an AT&T rival, also offers some video conferencing services.